The Thomas S. Power Library and Offutt Air Force Base Education Center will be consolidated this summer in an effort to balance terminated funding for library personnel salaries starting in June.
The spending reductions are the result of automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration. The library will close June 30 for renovations and to move the education and testing center.
The new learning center, which will house the base’s children’s library and adult education programs, is planned to open in August.
Offutt’s new Thomas S. Power Installation Learning Center will be located in the library’s current building and will offer current base education and testing services. It will also house the library’s children’s collection, electronic books and learning materials for college level examination programs and defense activity for nontraditional education support.
Lt. Col. Thomas B. Walsh II, the 55th Force Support Squadron commander, said in a press release that Offutt will continue to provide services to customers.
“The bad news is that we are losing some of the benefits the library currently provides,” Walsh said. “However, the good news is that by consolidating the two agencies we get to keep some of the essential library services, like the children’s section and language learning materials, while also providing a more convenient location for the education center.”
Offutt will maintain books on the Air Force Chief of Staff’s Reading List and provide computers with free internet access, scanners and printers for customer use. Base officials are working with local libraries to establish services with families for little to no cost.
Officials at Sarpy County’s five public libraries — including Papillion’s Sump Memorial Library, the La Vista Public Library and the Springfield Memorial Library — said they hadn’t been contacted by Offutt Air Force Base.
The Sarpy County public libraries are waiting for additional information about any potential changes.